Study suggests vitamin D can reduce chronic inflammation

‘We have repeatedly seen evidence for health benefits for increasing vitamin D concentrations’

Several illnesses are associated with chronic inflammation, but a new study finds that managing vitamin D levels might reduce swelling.

Inflammation is the body’s response to injury. However, chronic inflammation can last several months to years and can cause fatigue, body pain, mood disorders, frequent infections, and weight loss or gain, according to the National Library of Medicine. Additionally, chronic inflammation plays a role in diseases such as Alzheimer’s, asthma, cancer, heart disease, arthritis and Type 2 diabetes, according to Cleveland Clinic.

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Researchers in Australia have found a link between inflammation and vitamin D. They studied data from 294,970 individuals and looked at both vitamin D and C-reactive protein levels — a common indicator of inflammation — in the participants. The results of the study showed those with vitamin D deficiencies had higher CRP levels. The study concludes that correcting low levels of vitamin D can reduce chronic inflammation.

The study was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

“We have repeatedly seen evidence for health benefits for increasing vitamin D concentrations in individuals with very low levels, while for others, there appears to be little to no benefit,” senior investigator and director of University of South Australia’s Centre for Precision Health, Elina Hyppönen said in a press release. “These findings highlight the importance of avoiding clinical vitamin D deficiency, and provide further evidence for the wide-ranging effects of hormonal vitamin D.”

Other than chronic inflammation, vitamin D deficiency can cause a host of other problems, such as loss of bone density, osteoporosis and broken bones, according to Healthline. Symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency may include tiredness, bone or joint pain, muscle pain, moodiness, low energy, anxiety, irritability, hair loss and weight gain, according to UnityPoint Health. If you believe you have a vitamin D deficiency, consult with your doctor or health care provider.

Foods such as salmon, swordfish, tuna, orange juice and milk fortified with vitamin D, sardines, beef liver, and egg yolks contain high levels of vitamin D, according to Harvard Health. Previous research has shown that vitamin D can play a role in reducing the severity of COVID-19 as it enhances the function of immune cells and reduces inflammation. However, otherwise healthy individuals may not need to take vitamin D supplements.

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“Vitamin D can have a positive impact,” rheumatologist Dr. Chad Deal told Cleveland Clinic. “If you’re healthy and aren’t getting treatment for any medical problems, you don’t have to worry about starting supplements. But if you are now taking supplements, be sure to get your vitamin D levels checked before stopping.”

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